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"Georgia Rule"

Directed by Garry Marshall.
Written by Mark Andrus.
Starring Jane Fonda, Lindsay Lohan, Felicity Huffman and Dermot Mulroney.
Release Year:  2007
Review Date:  5/10/07


I got an offer to see "Georgia Rule" for free on Tuesday night, so I said, hey, I like free, but this was one of those movies where I literally had never heard of the film, who was in it, etc.  (For those of you shocked by this, let it be known--I watched commercials for the first time in a few months this past Monday when I watched "24" live for the first time all season.)  When I got to the theater and the movie started, imagine my shock when the first two characters who appeared onscreen were being played by Lindsay Lohan and Felicity Huffman:

Oh, shit--this is a fucking Lindsay Lohan movie!

Since this was free, I stuck around...and, I lost.  Big time.  And, more importantly, I wasn't alone--many, many others took the time to tell the film's promoters after the film that they were less than impressed.

"Georgia Rule" isn't God-awful, just not good.  Jane Fonda stars as family matriarch Georgia, mother of a disrespectful woman named Lilly (Huffman) and grandmother of Lilly's wild child daughter Rachel (Lohan), who apparently doesn't enjoy wearing clothing that runs lower than her upper thighs.  Georgia, who makes her home in lovely Hull, Idaho, is content staying out of Lilly's San Francisco-based life until Lilly needs a favor--she needs to dump Rachel for the summer to just keep her out of her hair, and Lilly finds a taker in the comfort of Georgia's home.  Georgia and Rachel clash on almost every imaginable level, and once a major revelation comes out about Lilly's childhood past, Lilly comes back to Hull to live with Georgia and help sort out this new drama that has arisen.

I'm in a tough spot here because I don't want to mention what this event is that changes the scope of the movie, but this comedy becomes a dramedy quickly, but worse, it's one that is left intentionally vague by the film's script until about the last five minutes of the movie.  As such, many issues around Rachel's life can't be resolved and as an audience member, I was left feeling nothing for her because she is such a brat for nearly all of the film.  Now, Fonda is great and looks pretty good for someone who turns 70 this year; her character is fun but stern, a mother who does have a little bit of a chink in her armor but only lets it show when it matters.  Fonda is the best thing about this movie.

Even though I'm not a Lohan fan, she's fine here, but her sexed-up teenager became tiring to keep up with; the line between Lohan in Real Life and Lohan the Character is VERY, VERY thin in "Georgia Rule."  Throw Paris or Britney into this movie and you basically have what one believes to be Lohan's life story.  Dermot Mulroney--never one to jump-start a party, if you will--drags as the film's stoic faux/pseudo/sorta love interest; Huffman is only as good as the writing, and the writing is not very good.  Cary Elwes plays Lilly's husband, and he becomes a factor later; I like Elwes, but he is useless here.

The film never becomes truly unbearable because it's so great to see Fonda onscreen (the only other film she's made in the last 17 years was, ahem, "Monster-In-Law"); also, the lush Idaho scenery is quite nice (I'm just hoping that this is Idaho; I didn't stay to watch the credits, if you will).  But, the film is just never very good, and in sorting out the mess of Rachel's is-she-lying-or-not backstory, you end up waiting for something that ultimately would have had more wait if the question AND the answer had just been brought up at the end, not in the middle.  Again, I got the feeling that lots of other folks who left this free screening were in my, buyer beware!!

Rating:  Rental


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09